immaterial

pg | major character death

She makes a wrong turn on the way to her house, even though she's lived there for eight years. There are perishable groceries in the trunk, and her husband freaks out if she's even a minute late home from work, but she keeps going, past trees and homes and white picket fences that are too much like her own. It's dark when she pulls into an empty parking lot, and she realizes she has no idea where she is. A quick search through her purse reveals that her cell phone is not there, probably at work.

Her husband is probably frantic, calling the police, her boss, her friends (what friends?). A feeling washes over her, and it takes her a moment to place it: satisfaction.

It would be so easy for someone to come up to the side of the car. Put the gun up to the glass. Two quick shots. Her obituary would be simple and boring. She would be referred to as Samantha Fitzgerald, because even though she hadn't legally taken his name, that's the way Martin would submit it. She'd be just another wife and mother, just another victim of gun violence.

She reaches in her purse and pulls out his obituary. Little more than his name and his age and a string of 'survived by's. Her name isn't there; some stupid, silly part of her actually thought it might be. (What would they say? 'Survived by his ex-mistress, Samantha Spade'?) His killer is listed simply as 'long illness'. She would have gone to the funeral, but her husband hadn't wanted her to, and somewhere along the way, she became the woman who obeyed her husband's wishes, even when they broke her heart.

It starts to rain, and she remembers a random encounter in a car, warm hands pushing damp clothing out of the way. Foolish and stupid, but hadn't their entire relationship been like that? (Hadn't all her relationships been like that, really?) When she came, she hit her head on the top of the roof. When he came, he almost broke a window. She shifted off of him, curling up in the seat once she had put her pants back on. He drove while she pressed his hot forehead to the cold glass.

But that was forever ago, before she was married with the requisite 2.3 children. (She absently rubs her belly.) She cries silently, crumpling the newspaper in her hand. The rain slows to a drizzle. She turns the key in the ignition and pulls out of the lot. Locating a road sign, she makes a left onto the highway and heads north, towards her home. She'll die there eventually. (She wonders if 'misery' counts as a 'long illness'.)

(fin.)